Since my marathon at the beginning of the month I have done very little running or training of any sort. Some of this is obviously because I had to rest up a bit but mostly because I had to have another lump taken out of my back following the bad news about the mole they removed.
I am not worried about the results of this one as they are pretty sure that all the bad stuff was removed the first time. This last operation is a ‘belt and braces’ approach. They took out the whole scar and some, going right down to the muscle to make doubly ensure that nothing nasty is left. As you can imagine it was not a pleasant experience and I did take it very carefully afterwards – it did feel like half of my back was taken. I did have a few times where I reminded myself that it could have been worse (chemo therapy etc) but it was still hard 😦 I am so very admiring of people who have / are dealing with the really nasty ‘proper’ cancer. I really do not know how you cope mentally.
So – on to the purpose of this post….I really wanted to share with you the information that I have that made me go and get that mole checked. So many people that I talk to do not know what to look for.
Important: I am not a medical professional and am simply passing my knowledge on to you. If you have any doubts then please speak to someone who has a bit more authority than me.
- Get to know your moles. What is normal for you? I, for example don’t have that many and many are reddish in colour. There are some that are slightly different but I know where they are and what is normal for them (they have not changed). The one that I had removed did look different to the others and stood out – one of the reasons the consultant took it off.
As with strokes etc there are some key things that you are told to look out for:ABCDE
Asymmetry– normal moles tend to be symmetrical with both halves looking the same
Border – normal moles tend to have a well defined, regular border whilst melanomas tend to have an irregular border.
Colour – Melanomas tend to be more than one colour. (I have some that are 2 colours that I have watched very closely for many years and they have never changed. In addition consultants have not been worried about but if in doubt ask).
Diameter – Moles are normally no bigger than the end of a biro or pencil (6mm)
Evolving – look for changes in moles.
In addition to this my consultant did also say that it is new moles that you should be most worried about – especially ones that do any of the above!
The ABCDE comes from a booklet on Melanoma that I was given published by McMillan Support.
It also goes on to say that see a doctor immediately if:
- a mole itches or tingles
- crusting or bleeding of a mole
- any of the ABCDE signs
- any unusual marks on the skin that lasts for more than a few weeks
- something growing under a nail or a new dark coloured stripe along part of the nail
My Advice From my experience
- Know what is normal for you and get to know your moles.
- If in ANY doubt go and consult a doctor.
- Even if you have been before and they have said it is ok but you are unhappy, do not be afraid to back to the doctor. Had I gone back within the 6 months I was told to he may well have said that everything was all right as it may well have been then. This would have left me feeling that it was ok but things do change. As it was I left it until a change had happened. Doctors would rather you checked than you leave things unchecked. If you do not treat melanoma EARLY it can get very nasty! Never feel bad about consulting your doctor. It may save your life – literally.
I know that I am being quite harsh but I truly feel very lucky. Had I left it for a couple of years this whole story could be VERY different. I just want to help others catch things early.
Thank you for reading. I really hope that it is useful to someone. My stitches are out this week so I should be able to run again and get back to the normal posts.